The Lies We Hide by S.E. Lynes ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Today is my stop on the blog tour for this poignant story. Thank you too Bookouture for the invitation to take part, and to Bookouture and NetGalley for my copy of this book. 

SYNOPSIS:

The truth can set you free, or make you a prisoner…

Thirty years ago, Nicola Watson lived with her parents and older brother in a respectable suburb. At ten years old, she didn’t yet understand why her stomach tightened when she heard her father’s heavy tread as he returned home late at night, or why it made her brother Graham’s stammer get worse, or why one night her mother Carol woke them both, wide-eyed and whispering, and took them out of their home and into the unknown.

Now a successful lawyer in the city, with a life poles apart from her dark beginnings, Nicola has returned home for her mother’s funeral. But as she stands in her mother’s house, remembering the woman who sacrificed everything for her children, Nicola has to confront the guilt she feels for leaving her family behind. And the belief that she played a part in events that led to her brother going to prison for murder.

All Carol wanted to do was protect her children, but escaping her husband was only the beginning of the story. And when Nicola learns the truth of what her mother did, it will change everything she thought she knew about herself and her family.

A gripping, emotional story of family secrets, and the strength of a mother’s love in the darkest times.

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MY REVIEW:

The Lies We Hide is a story about a family trying to make it through the trials and trauma life throws their way. A story about secrets, lies, guilt and forgiveness. Of a mother’s strength and sacrifice to keep her children safe.

The story is told in three timelines: In 1984 Carol flees with her children in the middle of the night after her abusive husband, Ted, tries to kill her. In 1992 Richard is a prison chaplain trying to reach an inmate, Graham, and help lift the heavy burden of guilt he feels. And in 2019 Nicola is grieving their mother, looking back on her life and trying to assuage her own feelings of  guilt. The author effortlessly weaves between these timelines to tell the story of the Watson family and slowly unveil the secrets they’ve kept hidden for decades. 

I loved this book. I’ve heard lots of praise for S.E. Lynes but this is the first time I’ve read one of her books (though shamefully I have four of them sitting on my kindle). I am now one of those singing her praises. Her writing is honest, raw, emotional and captivating. The Lies We Hide deals with a log of difficult subjects such as abuse, addiction and murder, but she handles them all with sensitivity.  

The characters were all well written and it felt like a book made up of troubled and fragmented souls. I liked how nuanced the author wrote them as it made them feel real. Although I expected Nicola to be the main character of this book, she ended up being the member of the Watson family we know least of all. She is telling a story where she’s on the fringes, that she  only learned the details of as she got older, some that she is even finding out as we do. Carol was far from perfect but I liked her most of all. She was a strong, brave woman who would do anything for her children. Leaving an abuser is incredibly hard and for her to flee with nothing but a few things in a bag was courageous. Her struggle to not go back to Ted and to build a new life for her and the kids was true to life and heart-rending. I longed for her to find the happiness she deserved and finally feel free of Ted both inside and out. Ted was a vile, disgusting man who I hated. I could understand why Carol had loved him once and why she found it hard to leave, but he was a perfectly written example of an abusive alcoholic and I was hoping he’d get his just desserts from early on. 

Graham is a mess but my mother’s heart broke for him with all he went through in his young life. I liked that I was able to both be disgusted at how he was acting and want to wrap my arms around him and tell him he’d be okay at the same time. For me, Graham was the character where the author’s writing shone most of all as he had such a richly developed character with so many different parts and was both awful and lovely at the same time. I particularly loved the relationship between him and his chaplain, Richard. There were so many great scenes between them and they got me feeling ALL the emotions at one stage or another. I could vividly picture the two of them in that room during the sessions and I think it was a great choice to have Richard, rather than Graham, tell that part of the story so we got a broader perspective and a chance to see things from the outside.

Secrets and guilt play a huge role in this novel. All our main characters are hiding things, sometimes because they believe it’s best for those we love, and are living with guilt over those secrets and things they’ve done. Experly plotted, the secrets remained hidden even from the reader for most of the book, and showed that this author knows how to surprise you with a great twist.

Spectacularly written, The Lies We Hide is an emotional, captivating, unflinching novel that I would highly recommend. That ending alone was worth reading the book for! I am glad I’ve finally had the pleasure of reading this author’s work and can’t wait to finally read her back catalogue. 

Out now.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Amazon best selling author of ‘intelligent and haunting’ psychological thrillers VALENTINA, MOTHER, THE PACT, THE PROPOSAL and THE WOMEN. 

S E Lynes is a writer, tutor and mentor. Formerly a BBC producer, she has lived in France, Spain, Scotland, Italy, and now lives in Greater London with her husband, three kids and her dog, Lola. 

Her critically acclaimed debut, VALENTINA, was published by Blackbird Digital Books in July 2016. Her second novel, MOTHER was published by Bookouture in 2017, followed in 2018 by THE PACT and THE PROPOSAL. In August 2018, VALENTINA was published in a new edition by Bookouture and THE WOMEN was released in 2019. Her new novel, the dark and gripping family drama, THE LIES WE HIDE, is published Dec 4th 2019.

Susie Lynes has also published two children’s books in Italy: Il Leopardo Lampo and La Coccodrilla Ingamba, both available at Amazon.it

Find her on:

Facebook S E Lynes Author

Twitter @SELynesAuthor  

The Lies We Hide - Blog tour

The Pact by Amy Heydenrych ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this absorbing thriller. Thank you to Tracy at Compulsive Readers for my invitation to take part and to Zaffre and NetGalley for my copy of the book.

SYNOPSIS:    

What if a prank leads to murder?

When Freya arrives at her dream job with the city’s hottest start-up, she can’t wait to begin a new and exciting life, including dating her colleague Jay.

However, Nicole, Jay’s ex and fellow employee, seems intent on making her life a misery. After a big deadline, where Nicole continually picks on her, Freya snaps and tells Jay about the bullying and together they concoct a revenge prank. The next morning Nicole is found dead in her apartment.

Is this just a prank gone wrong? Or does Freya know someone whos is capable of murder – and could she be next?

MY REVIEW:

“It was just a joke, a little slice of revenge…”

The story at the heart of this book is one that is all too familiar to most women. We all have stories about the male colleague who makes unwelcome suggestive remarks, gets a bit too handsy, holds onto a hug for that little bit too long or makes us feel uncomfortable in a way we can’t put our finger on. I bet there’s someone in your mind that describes right now. I know there is in mine. And what do we do? We usually brush it aside so we don’t cause a problem and tell ourselves it’s harmless fun. And if we do report it then we face the accusations that we led them on, did something to cause it and watch as things are twisted to paint them as the victim and us as the harasser. The #MeToo movement is beginning to change the tides and has inevitably sparked a wave of books and other media that address these issues. The Pact is the best I’ve read yet.

I didn’t expect this to be such a timely book but I am glad this author chose to write this particular story. As well as sexual harassment the book takes a look at other social issues such as bullying in the work place, the inequality between the sexes in certain professions, women being pitted against each other and how the media looks at female victims of crime. All the topics were handled in an honest and sensitive manner that felt realistic and sadly relatable.

The author filled this book an eclectic mix of strong, intelligent but flawed female characters. The narrators, Isla and Freya, are both ambitious and passionate about their chosen field. Both have things in their past that have left them a little fragile and fractured but also gave them strength that I don’t think they recognised in themselves at first. I liked both characters and thought their bad decisions only made them more human and relatable. Nicole was the mean girl. While she’s alive we only see her through Freya’s eyes and, as she is being bullied by her, that’s quite a biased lens. I could see how some people were manipulating things and wondered if there were things we didn’t know about that were contributing to her behaviour. Another thing that happened because we only see her from Freya’s point of view is that it was hard at times to be sympathetic or mournful of her death. The choice to make her both murder victim and villainess, and the author’s ability to evoke in me such constrasting feelings towards her, were a testament to her talent. The characters who manipulated, lied and harassed people were expertly written (I’m not naming them to avoid spoilers). They were classic examples of abusers and narcissist – masquerading behind a veil of charm, charisma, kindness and kinship. Their victims were like lambs to the slaughter at the hands of their expert scheme.

The story is written in multiple timelines and moves somewhat sporadically between them. It felt choppy and confusing at times as a result and I sometimes had to double check what timeline we were in to make sense of things. But as more of the story was told this got better and things flowed more smoothly. There were times I liked the use of multiple timelines as they were used to weave clues through the story and tease the reader before jumping to another point in the story, leaving us in suspense.

The Pact manages to hit all the requirements for a riveting, explosive and involving thriller while also being an acutely observed commentary on some of the most harrowing, difficult and important issues we face. While I did guess some things early on I was left with my jaw on the floor when the author delivered the coup de grace.

Out now.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Amy is a writer and book blogger based in South Africa. She has been shortlisted twice for the acclaimed Miles Morland African Writing Scholarship. Her short stories and poems have been published in multiple anthologies including Brittle Paper, The Kalahari Review and the Short Sharp Stories anthologies. When she is not writing her own fiction, she ghost-writes books and columns for global tech and financial companies.

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Who Did You Tell by Lesley Kara ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this new thriller. Thank you to Anne at Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part, and Bantam Press for the gifted copy of the book.

SYNOPSIS:

Every town has its secrets. Lesley Kara knows them all…

From the author of 2019’s biggest crime thriller debut, The Rumour, comes an addictive new novel…

It’s been 192 days, seven hours and fifteen minutes since her last drink. Now Astrid is trying to turn her life around.

Having reluctantly moved back in with her mother, in a quiet seaside town away from the temptations and painful memories of her life before, Astrid is focusing on her recovery. She’s going to meetings. Confessing her misdeeds. Making amends to those she wronged.

But someone knows exactly what Astrid is running from. And they won’t stop until she learns that some mistakes can’t be corrected. 

Some mistakes, you have to pay for…   

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MY REVIEW:

This brilliant thriller started slowly but then drew me in as the pace and tension increased and simmered with fear. It was well written and plotted and I loved the suspense that came from the paragraphs in italics as a mysterious person fantasises about murder and vengence. Is this voice Astrid’s before she got sober or is it someone else who has their sights on her? I wasn’t sure and changed my mind on this and the identity of this mystery narrator many times throughout the book. As the story progressed it was impossible to know which characters we could trust and like Astrid I was seeing enemies everywhere, even in those I’d never wondered about early on.

Dealing with a central theme of alcoholism and addiction, this is an emotional read in places. The author has clearly done her research and captured the daily battles that are faced by a recovering alcoholic and the devastating effects on their life, friends and family in a way that was honest, real and raw. I had never really thought about the extent of the turmoil, exhaustion, terror and they face every moment they’re awake until I read this book. The author wrote Astrid’s constant battle to stay sober so expertly that my own heart would race when she faced temptation and I shouted inside my head for her to stay strong. 

Astrid was an interesting protagonist. I could never quite decide if she was unreliable or really in jeopardy, which I liked because it added an extra layer of tension and mystery to the story. The small town setting helped to convey her feeling of being watched and monitored every time she leaves the house and I could feel her fear radiating from the pages as she tried to decipher who knew her secrets, if she’s really going crazy, and who she could trust.  Guilt and depression are themes that ran through the book and, for Astrid, go hand in hand. The author explored this in a way that showed her vulnerability and self-loathing as well as her dark side, and managed to make her less likeable yet more sympathetic.

Who Did You Tell is a captivating and twisty thriller full of dark secrets, suspicion and revenge. Every time I thought I had things figured out the author would throw in another twist and I’d have to rethink what I thought I knew. The further I got into the story, the more I was on the edge of my seat. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough as we approached the end. Though I got some things right, when the full picture was revealed it still had my jaw on the floor in shock.

Out December 5th.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Lesley Kara is an alumna of the Faber Academy ‘Writing a Novel’ course. She grew up in Essex and now lives with her family on the North Essex coast. Lesley has been a teacher and worked as a bookseller. Her first novel, The Rumour, was a Sunday Times Top 10 Bestseller. The Rumour has been optioned for TV (Cuba Pictures) and has sold in 15 territories to date.

Violet by S.J.I. Holliday ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this twisty psychological thriller. Thank you to Anne at Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part and to S.J.I. Holliday and Orenda books for the gifted ebook copy of this novel.

SYNOPSIS:

When two strangers end up sharing a cabin on the Trans-Siberian Express, and intense friendship develops, one that can only have one ending…a nerve-shattering psychological thriller from bestselling author SJI Holliday.

Carrie’s best friend has an accident and can no longer make the round-the-world-trip they’d planned together, so Carrie decides to go it alone.

Violet is also travelling alone, after splitting up with her boyfriend in Thailand. She is also desperate for a ticket on the Trans-Siberian Express, but there is nothing available.

When the two women meet in a Beijing Hotel, Carrie makes the impulsive decision to invite Violet to take her best friend’s place. 

Thrown together in a strange country, and the cramped cabin of the train, the women soon form a bond. But as the journey continues through Mongolia and into Russia, things start to unravel – because one of these women is not who she claims to be…

A tense and twisted psychological thriller about obsession, manipulation and toxic friendships, Violet also reminds us that there’s a reason why mother told us not to talk to strangers…

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MY REVIEW:

This claustrophobic and disturbing psychological thriller takes the reader on a wild ride as we follow travellers, and new friends, Violet and Carrie on their cross-country journey on the Trans-Siberian Express. Nothing and no-one is what they seem in this mysterious, foreboding and tense thriller that had me guessing throughout. 

The story is narrated by Violet with Carrie’s voice appearing in the form of emails to her friends and family back home. I thought this was a great way to show us Carrie’s perspective and give us an alternative look at events. Both girls were curious characters but not very likeable, and neither were any of the background characters we met along the way. From the start I didn’t trust Violet, and it was soon apparent that there was something very wrong with her. Something that ran deep. Carrie couldn’t have been more different. She is chatty and makes friends easily.  The pair develop a strong and intense bond but Violet goes further, developing an unhealthy obsession with her new friend and will do anything to keep her close. 

This was my first read by this author and I now can’t wait to read more. She transported me to places I’ve never been with her evocative and descriptive prose. I also loved how she teased us, alluding to fragments of the girls’ past and how we are left to guess what Violet means by the sinister sentences she will randomly throw out. It’s soon clear she has some dark secrets and is hiding behind a smokescreen of lies but the author leaves us as clueless as Carrie, heightening the suspense. 

Violet is an exciting story about obsession, jealousy, rage, secrets and devious desires. It is also a cautionary tale about trusting strangers and intense, toxic friendships. I devoured the pages as we approached the crescendo – the shocking revelations coming thick and fast, a million questions in my head –  before finally reaching the deft and satisfying conclusion. 

I would highly recommend this book, particularly if you enjoy Killing Eve or Single White Female. 

Out now. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

S.J.I. (Susi) Holliday is a scientist, writing coach and bestselling author of five crime novels,  including the Banktoun Trilogy (Black Wood, Willow Walk and The Damselfly), the festive chiller The Deaths of December and her creepy Gothic psychological thriller The Lingering. Her short story Home From Home was published in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and shortlisted for the CWA Margery Allingham Prize. Encapsulating her love of travel and claustrophobic settings, her latest novel, Violet, explores toxic friendships and the perils of talking to strangers, as well as drawing on her own journey on the Trans-Siberian Express over 10 years ago. All of her novels have been UK ebook number-one bestsellers. Susi was born and raised in Scotland and now divides her time between Edinburgh, London and as many other exciting places that she can fit in.

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Blog Tour Review: Snow Creek by Gregg Olsen ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Today is my stop on the blog tour for this exciting first installment in a new crime series. Thank you to Bookoture for the invitation to take part and to NetGalley and Bookoture for my copy of this book. 

SYNOPSIS:

Footprints were scattered about like fallen leaves. She looked down into the ravine, and once more her lungs filled with fear. A body, blackened and motionless, lay splayed out in the bushes.

Detective Megan Carpenter is no stranger to evil. Escaping the horrors of her old life, she’s vowed never to let anyone hurt her or those she loves ever again. Joining the small police force in Jefferson County’s Port Townsend, Megan is determined to get every victim of a crime the justice they deserve.

So when Ruth Turner walks into the Sheriff’s office claiming her sister Ida Watson has been missing for over a month, Megan’s instincts tell her that she needs to do more than just file a report.

Arriving at a secluded farmhouse in the hills above Snow Creek, she finds Ida’s teenage children alone and frightened.

Then a few days later, close to the Watson’s home, the blackened body of a woman is discovered in an abandoned pickup truck.

Megan must unravel the disturbing secrets of the isolated Snow Creek community to catch the killer. 

But Megan has dark secrets of her own too.

Hidden in the back of her closet is a box of tapes containing every single recording of her therapy sessions with Doctor Albright over thirteen years ago. As Megan begins to play the tapes, she’s taken straight back to the time she was a kid called Rylee, fighting to survive.

Can Megan finally confront the past she’s spent years trying to block out and will listening to her own painful story help her solve the complex case she’s now entangled in?

From the Number One New York Times and Amazon Charts bestselling author, comes an absolutely heart-stopping and completely unputdownable crime series, introducing Detective Megan Carpenter.

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MY REVIEW:

Full disclosure: I am a sucker for a good crime series and police procedural. They’re my go-to reads if I’m ever in a reading slump. When I saw Gregg Olsen was releasing the first in a new crime series I couldn’t resist checking it out as I loved the book I read by him a few months ago. Boy am I glad I did! Snow Creek is a fast-paced, jaw-dropping, twisty and utterly addictive thriller that I devoured in just a few hours. A thriller lover’s dream, it will consume you and leave you breathless.

Ruth Turner walks into the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office to report her sister Ida Watson missing. Detective Megan Carpenter decides to do a welfare check rather than just file a report. When she arrives at the secluded house in the hills above Snow Creek she finds Ida’s two teenage children, Joshua and Sarah. They say that their parents went on a mission trip to Mexico but after making calls it becomes clear they never arrived in Mexico and Ida and Merritt are missing. 

When a woman’s charred body is found in an abandoned car the mystery of Ida’s whereabouts is solved. With Merritt missing and Sarah telling the Detective that her father was abusive, Megan has her prime suspect. The race is on to find Merrick and bring Ida’s killer to justice. But as further evidence is uncovered Megan starts to wonder if they’ve been focusing on the wrong person and someone else could be their killer…

This is my second read by Gregg Olsen and has secured my love of his writing. Both books were nail-biting and showed that he knows how to pack a punch, bringing shocking twists and turns at unexpected moments. There were so many in this book I got book whiplash. And OMG that ending! I wanted to scream in frustration when I realised that was the final page. I need the second installment now!

For any crime series to succeed you need a good protagonist and Detective Megan Carpenter certainly fits that bill for me. She was likeable, relatable and absolutely fascinating. Her past is shrouded in mystery, with parts of it slowly being unveiled over the course of the book as she listens to the tape from her counselling sessions with Doctor Albright thirteen years ago. The shocking revelations made me love this character all the more and I think the author has written one of the most intriguing and compelling protagonists of a series that I’ve read. She was the best character in the book and I can’t wait to learn more about her dark secrets and shadowy past.

I would highly recommend Snow Creek to anyone who enjoys crime fiction, thrillers and domestic noir. This is a book you don’t want to miss!

Out now.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A #1 New York Times, Amazon Charts, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author, Olsen has written nine nonfiction books, seventeen novels, a novella, and contributed a short story to a collection edited by Lee Child.

The award-winning author has been a guest on dozens of national and local television shows, including educational programs for the History Channel, Learning Channel, and Discovery Channel.

The Deep Dark was named Idaho Book of the Year by the ILA and Starvation Heights was honored by Washington’s Secretary of State for the book’s contribution to Washington state history and culture.

Olsen, a Seattle native, lives in Olalla, Washington with his wife, twin daughters, three chickens, Milo (an obedience school dropout cocker) and Suri (a mini dachshund so spoiled she wears a sweater).

AUTHOR SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

Website: https://www.greggolsen.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GreggOlsenAuthor/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Gregg_Olsen

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Hold Your Tongue by Deborah Masson ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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I’m thrilled to be opening the blog tour for this gripping debut novel. Thank you to Katie at Penguin Random House for the invitation to take part and my gifted copy of this book.

SYNOPSIS:

A brutal murder.

A young woman’s body is discovered with horrifying injuries, a recent newspaper cutting pinned to her clothing.

A detective with everything to prove.

This is her only chance to redeem herself.

A serial killer with nothing to lose.

He’s waited years, and his reign of terror has only just begun…

Introducing DI Eve Hunter, Hold Your Tongue is your new obsession.

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MY REVIEW:

“He likes stories. And he has an important one to tell. After today, people will listen.” 

“He has a story to tell. And it has begun.”

This riveting debut started with a bang; the brutal prologue giving me literal chills. For the rest of the book I was on the edge of my seat, utterly immersed in this deliciously twisted, turbulent and electrifying thriller. 

A young woman found dead with sickening injuries is not a good first day back at work, but it’s what DI Eve Hunter is thrust into on hers. When a second woman is found a week later there is even greater pressure to find whoever is behind these gruesome murders. But the victims seem random and the only connection they can find between the victims is that they were in the newspaper, the clippings left pinned to their clothing. There is no clear motive and though Eve is sure the killer is telling them something, she can’t figure out what it is. As Eve and the team race against the clock to prevent anyone else becoming a victim, the killer is enjoying his long-planned reign of terror. He is certain he will finish what he started, that the police are clueless and powerless to stop him. But who is right? Will Eve and her team prevail or will the killer accomplish …

Wow! What a fantastic start to a new crime series! This was a rollercoaster ride of a book that I could not put down. This book was an example of what I love in crime fiction: well written and fantastically plotted, fast paced, great characters, complex and multi-layered, and a story that was hard to predict. The author knows how to hold her audience captive, making it impossible to turn away from the horror unfolding. The story is cleverly pieced together through subtle hints and startling revelations, until the final, shocking picture emerges. I could feel my heart pounding in anticipation as I raced towards the finale. 

DI Eve Hunter was a great protagonist. She’s fascinating and flawed but likeable and easy to get behind. It’s clear she’s a strong woman and leader, but she also shows weakness, which made her all the more interesting and relatable. We’re quickly given glimpses of her backstory: the dark secret only she and her counsellor know, and her guilt over the vicious attack that left her with painful injuries and her partner, Sanders, paralysed from the chest down. Eve’s team are all well written. I liked that their interpersonal dynamics weren’t smooth or simple and that there are some who make it clear they didn’t want her back and still blame her for what happened. We are given a comprehensive introduction to Eve and her team, giving us a real sense of who they are and I like that she also included the complicated relationship between Eve and Sanders. 

I love crime thrillers and one of my favourite things is when they include chapters from the perpetrator. I was glad to see that trope used in this book and loved the flashes of his past and peeking into his warped mind. From the savagery of his sickening attacks on his victims it is immediately clear that this is a brutal, cold-blooded, calculating and meticulous killer who is enjoying finally living out his carefully plotted crimes. 

Hold Your Tongue is a brilliant whodunit from an exciting new voice in the genre. Deborah, thanks to you I will never be able to see or hear that song in the same way again… I can’t wait for book two and would highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys crime fiction.

Published November 20th on Kindle and December 26th in Paperback.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Deborah Masson was born and bred in Aberdeen, Scotland. Always restless and fighting against being a responsible adult, she worked in several jobs including secretarial, marketing, reporting for the city’s freebie newspaper and a stint as a postie – to name but a few. Through it all, she always read crime fiction and, when motherhood finally settled her into being an adult (maybe even a responsible one) she turned her hand to writing what she loved. Deborah started with short stories and flash fiction whilst her daughter napped and, when she later welcomed her son into the world, she decided to challenge her writing further through online courses with Professional Writing Academy and Faber Academy. Her debut novel, Hold Your Tongue, is the result of those courses.

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Nothing Important Happened Today by Will Carver ⭐⭐⭐.5

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Thank you to Anne at Random Things  Tours for the invitation to take part in this blog tour and to Orenda Books for my gifted copy of the novel.

SYNOPSIS:

When strangers take part in a series of group suicides, everything suggests that a cult is to blame. How do you stop a cult when nobody knows they are a member?

Nine suicides.

One cult.

No leader.

Nine people arrive one night on Chelsea Bridge. They’ve never met. But at the same time, they run, and leap to their deaths. Each of them received a letter in the post that morning, a pre-written suicide note, and a page containing only four words: Nothing important happened today.

That is how they knew they had been chosen to become part of the People of Choice: A mysterious suicide cult whose members have no knowledge of one another.

Thirty-two people on the train witness the event. Two of them will be next. By the morning, People of Choice are appearing around the globe; it becomes a movement. A social media page that has lain dormant for years suddenly has thousands of followers. The police are under pressure to find a link between cult members, to locate a leader that does not seem to exist.

How do you stop a cult when nobody knows they are a member?

A shocking, mesmerisingly original and pitch-black thriller, Nothing Important Happened Today confirms Will Carver as one of the most extraordinary, exciting authors in crime fiction.

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****TRIGGER WARNING****

If there was ever a book that required a trigger warning its this one. This book deals with suicide and mental health and if you struggle with those things I would advise caution in reading this book. Both are subjects I can find triggering but all I knew was that it started with the nine suicides. I didn’t expect it to delve so deeply and darkly into both subject and I really struggled with reading it, having to take lots of breaks. In all honesty, I would have quit reading if I hadn’t been reading it for a blog tour spot that was just days away. But it does move away from being so dark and became a book I enjoyed after some time.

MY REVIEW:

Nine people receive a letter one morning. Each one contains a sheet of paper with just four words: nothing important happened today, the other has instructions for where and when they are to meet and end their lives in unison. They have been accepted as members of the People of Choice, a suicide cult that seems to have no leader and the members don’t know each other. As word spreads and the People of Choice becomes a movement, the police are desperately trying to find links between the members and the identity of the cult’s leader.

This was a powerful, original, dark and brutal novel that I had the dichotomy of disliking the start but ultimately enjoyed. It packs a punch from the start and the unease was instant as I read about the normal days of the nine people who sacrificed their lives on the bridge.

This was my first Will Carver book and I loved his unique writing style. I don’t know if I’ve ever read a book that’s written in both the first and third person before, but it worked and flowed smoothly. The dual timelines and multiple narrators were a great way to introduce us to what the person behind the People of Choice was trying to achieve and showing us the shattered lives of those he chose to be members. His choice to refer to the members by numbers and profession or a personality trait made it feel like I was observing test subjects in some twisted experiment, which I guess is kind of what the cult’s orchestrator wanted. It made me one of the others. I felt quite voyeuristic and removed when reading parts of the book which perfectly illustrates how taking away personal qualifiers such as names and details about people’s lives also takes away some of the empathy.

This read as a how-to manual for running a cult but was also a commentary on today’s society. There were a lot of great points and things I could relate to but unfortunately I found that for over half the book these things were overshadowed by the things that made this book hard to read for me: as I mentioned earlier, I found the depth and detail to which this book discussed and examinned suicide distressing and the way mental health and how it is treated was discussed in the first half of the book rubbed me the wrong way. I was relieved when the book began to feel less gratuitous and like it was starting to come together at last. I found myself really enjoying the storyline and actually caring about what happened and who was behind the carnage.

Out now.

Will Carver 2

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

So while I feel I can’t give this a four star rating because of how I felt for the first part of the book, I would still urge everyone to decide for themselves about this book. It is a well-written book by a talented author that is timely, twisted, disturbing and thought-provoking. I liked how the story played out as we approached the finale and absolutely loved how it ended.

Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series. He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age eleven, when his sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, and lives in Reading with his two children. Good Samaritans was book of the year in Guardian, Telegraph and Daily Express, and hit number one on the ebook charts.